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UPSCAPE: A scientific approach to better water management in the Cauvery River Basin

In an effort to make water resources sustainable, the Ministry of Earth Sciences, India and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), UK have funded a new project “Upscaling Catchment Processes for Sustainable Water Management in Peninsular India” (UPSCAPE). It is a 3-year £2 million research project that is one of the three projects in India initiated under the ambitious Newton-Bhabha Sustaining Water Resources Programme. Six institutes have come together as partners in this project, of which the prestigious Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, is the lead Institute from India. “The motivating factor of the Newton-Bhabha project is to ensure science reaches the society and benefits it”, says Prof. Pradeep Mujumdar, Chairman at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Water Research, Indian Institute of Science. He also leads the team of Indian scientists working on the UPSCAPE project in the Cauvery river basin.

The 2015 Chennai floods – A rapid assessment

In December 2015, Chennai witnessed massive floods killing about 400 people and displacing thousands. Now, researchers from Interdisciplinary Centre for Water Research (ICWaR) at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, in collaboration with researchers from Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Madras and Bombay have assessed the flood related information in the public domain and data from secondary sources and carried out quick first level analyses to develop an understanding about possible reasons for the floods. They observed that the massive floods were a result of a combination of factors; high rainfall intensity, overflowing rivers, global climate drivers, unplanned urbanization, inadequate drainage system and upstream reservoir releases.